Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Thursday led Abia State government and numerous sympathizers to pay last respect as the remains of the late former Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Solomon Ogunji were lowered to mother earth at his home town Ohambele Ndoki, Ukwa East LGA.
The Governor described death as punishment for the living because of the emotional trauma, noting that the event of the day has shown that life is indeed transient as death is universal.
He summed up the life and times of his bossom friend as fearless, courageous, steadfast and reliable, who would be ready to go with his friend and stand for same even in the battlefield.
While buttressing the fact that the late Commissioner had no space to harbour grudges, Ikpeazu said: “There is no height, no size, nothing is beyond Ogunji’s confrontation. Why bear grudge when he can talk it out with you? And once he discusses it and makes his views known, if you are able to convince him, that will be the end of it. If you’re unable to convince him, he convinces you. But either way, there’s no space for grudge in his heart.
“I want to say this, that if we can find courage, patient enough to confront people we don’t understand, to confront views we don’t understand, then there will be no space in our hearts to bear grudge.”
Governor Ikpeazu recalled that when in 2015 he needed someone to serve as his agent in the election, he remembered that: “I had a friend who could not be bribed; I had a friend who could not be bought; I had a friend who cannot change what is discussed and it was Solo,” declaring that: “Solomon Ogunji won virtually all his battles.”
The Abia State helmsman credited the late Commissioner for Environment as having attracted the erosion remediation and road work for Ohuhu Community in Umuahia North LGA as well as the N27 billion Naira World Bank assisted fund for the rehabilitation of Obuohia, Ngwa and Ohanku Roads in Aba, the work of which is expected to be completed in the next 24 months.
He noted that the Nwabo family has lost their skimmer and center rank but called on them to rise from the tears of the demise of their father and be guided that a vacuum has been created in the family of courageous fearless and of very steadfast and reliable friends, insisting that: “If we fail to be courageous, if we fail to be fearless, if we fail to be loyal and steadfast to friendship then Solo is truly dead.”
The Government used the opportunity to announc that the State government had made a provision for the deceased family adding that as a friend and adopted son of the family, he would be on hand to support them always.
In his sermon, the President, Eastern Nigeria Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor (Dr) Bassey Udoh, stated that man has few days on earth which is even full of trouble, adding that death is inevitable. He enjoined the bereaved family to make God their refuge, assuring them that God remains faithful even when every other thing fails.
In a funeral oration read by his son on behalf of the family, Master Marvelous Ogunji described their late father as a friend, an encourager, motivator, voice of the voiceless, and a defender of the defenceless.
In their separate tributes, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Member representing Ukwa East and West Federal constituency, Chief Uzoma Abonta among others eulogized the sterling characteristics of the deceased whom they described as courageous, honest, selfless and dependable, lamenting that his death has created a big vacuum not only in his family and immediate community but also in Abia as a whole.
ABIA ONLINE gathered that the late Dr Solomon Nkem Ogunji who died at the age of 59 was until his death, the Commissioner for Environment and is survived by his wife, Mrs Chidinma Amanda Ogunji, 5 children, his aged mother, brothers, sisters among other relations.